Agriculture

Over 260 Bihar farmers won’t get government benefits as they burnt stubble

The farmers are spread over districts such as Kaimur, Rohtas, Bhojpur, Buxar, Nalanda, Patna and Gaya

 
By Mohd Imran Khan
Last Updated: Wednesday 18 December 2019
Stubble burning. Photo: Vikas Choudhary / CSE

The Bihar government will not provide financial assistance, subsidies and other benefits to more than 260 farmers in the state as they burnt crop residue (stubble) despite being told not to do so.

“These farmers will be deprived of benefits provided by the agriculture department as a penalty for burning stubble burning despite there being a ban on,” Prem Kumar, Bihar’s minister for agriculture,  told this reporter over the phone.

The state government banned stubble burning in Bihar in the first week of November.

“This is the first such action initiated by the department to warn other farmers to not burn stubble on their farms. The department will not hesitate to act against more farmers if they are found burning stubble,” Kumar said.

The farmers, who have been deprived of government benefits and subsidies, had registered themselves on the official website of the agriculture department for the same.

The department has now blocked their registration for three years. They will not be able to avail different schemes of the department through Direct Benefit Transfer.

Usually, registered farmers are entitled for diesel subsidy, input subsidy, other financial assistance, subsidy on purchasing of equipment for farm tools, machines and for irrigation.

Meanwhile, separate cases have been lodged against these farmers by local police for violating the government order not to burn stubble.

Last month, Mantosh Kumar, a resident of Ghordiha village in Rohtas, became the first farmer to be booked for burning stubble in his farm of 32 decimal.

Kargahar police station officer in-charge Suresh Ram said an FIR was lodged against Mantosh under Section 435 of the Indian Penal Code as well as Section 15 of the Environment Protection Act,1986.

The maximum number of farmers were from Rohtas and Kaimur districts — known as ‘Bihar’s rice bowl’. The others were from Bhojpur, Buxar, Nalanda, Patna and Gaya, agriculture department officials said.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar warned in October that farmers found burning stubble would be deprived of financial assistance and subsidies. He was giving his inaugural address at an international conference on stubble management in Patna.

Subsidised electricity costs Bihar farmers Rs 0.75 per unit. They also get a subsidy of Rs 60 per litre of diesel.

According to the government's own data, nearly two-thirds of Bihar’s population of 11 crore are dependent on agriculture for their livelihood, with most of them being small and marginal farmers.

Bihar’s capital city, Patna, remained India’s most polluted city during the last two weeks. 

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